web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Dubbing Political Foe ”Fascist” May Prove Costly to Facebook Defendants

President of the Jerusalem District Court, Moussia Arad.

President of the Jerusalem District Court, Moussia Arad.
Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90

Share Button

Can one cry “Fascism” in a crowded internet? A Jerusalem district court begins hearing testimonies on this issue today, with a plethora of unintended consequences paving its path. Is this a typical case of Left vs. Right, and if so, will a court decision necessarily benefit either of the sides? As of this morning, the relatively small but insanely vociferous world of Israeli online activists should start holding its collective breath .

Im Tirtzu (a reference to Zionist visionary Theodore Hertzle’s immortal slogan, Im tirtzu ein zu agada, roughly translated as ‘If only you want it, it won’t remain a dream’), describes itself as “an extra-parliamentary movement that works to strengthen and advance the values of Zionism in Israel.” Established by Israeli intellectuals, students and IDF reservists after the 2006 Second Lebanon War, its objectives are the renewal of the Zionist discourse, thinking and ideology, “to ensure the future of the Jewish nation and of the State of Israel and to advance Israeli society in coping with the challenges it faces.”

Im Tirtzu is mostly devoted to “combating the campaign of de-legitimization against the State of Israel and to providing responses to Post-Zionist and Anti-Zionist phenomena.”

With thirteen branches at universities and colleges throughout Israel, Im Tirtzu has become an influential organization in the Israeli public arena, with strong ties to Israeli politicians on the right, and “access to decision makers and high-ranking government officials in Israel.” They influence public opinion and can certainly be considered a factor in moving Israel’s popular public opinion to the right.

A year ago, Im Tirtzu filed a NIS 2.6 million suit against seven people who created a Facebook page called “Im Tirtzu – Fascists,” and the defendants are about to present their depositions today. The Facebook Seven are represented by Attorney Michael Sphard, Yishai Shindor and Shlomi Zacharia. The seven admit that the financial burden of the lawsuit could destroy them, and are planning to start a fund raising drive.

But perhaps a sincere apology would do them better, because, on the face of it, they’re not in good shape. The Facebook Seven’s defense boils down to the “if the shoe fits” argument, which may be hard to prove.

The defense is also expected to argue that presenting Im Tirtzu as fascists is protected by the principle of freedom of expression – it’s their opinion and they’re entitled to voice it. That argument, too, can be tricky in a country with tough libel laws like Israel.

One deposition comes from Professor Ze’ev Sternhell, who is presented as “an internationally-recognized expert on fascism.” According to Sternhell, Im Tirtzu’s ideology and actions contain elements of fascism.

The problem is that Professor Sternhell in one article openly called on terrorists to aim their weapons at settlements, and in another declared that only those willing to march on the settlement of Ofra with tanks would be able to stop the fascist wave threatening to drown Israeli democracy. As impassioned as his defense of the Facebook Seven may be, he can hardly be considered an unbiased expert.

A more useful argument is expected to be made by journalist and spoken Hebrew expert Rubik Rosenthal, in whose opinion the term “fascist” has lost its historic bite in the current Israeli discourse, being used by opinion-mongers on the left and on the right as a generalized insult, rather than the original characterization by Benitto Mussolini et al.

But journalist Tomer Persico’s testimony will include a conversation he had with one of Im Tirtzu’s leaders, Ronen Shuval, in which the latter admitted to being influenced by “German romanticism’s ideologues,” those 19th-Century dreamers who gave life to the monstrous European fascism. If you note a contradiction between the former paragraph’s main point and this one, do read it once more and note that, indeed, this could be a case of having the cake while munching on it vigorously.

Incidentally, perfectly mainstream Zionist movements such as Beitar took pride in calling themselves Fascist, in the days before the term went gargoyle. Calling Shuval a fascist for identifying with the same sentiments that Likud’s ancient founding father Ze’ev Jabotinsky embraced before WWII may be just a case of unfairness, in which journalists of Tomer Persico’s ilk are known to dabble on occasion.

Professor Ze’ev Sternhell reads into texts written by Shuval “a clear expression of fascist thinking.” These include “references to the nation as an organic body.” But, of course, this would dub most hasidic and kabalistic writing equally fascist. Because, in history, thinking your nation is special is not a problem – thinking your nation is special so you should kill everybody else is usually where troubles start.

Other signs of fascist thought, according to Sternhell, include the view of an atrophied West and the sense that the situation in Israel is an emergency requiring extremist action and struggle against the “traitors.” This inclusive approach would probably dub as fascist both houses of the US Congress and a majority of publications on the shelf today in the areas of sociology, economics, poli sci, and religion, to name just a few thousand.

Share Button

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Dubbing Political Foe ”Fascist” May Prove Costly to Facebook Defendants”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden
Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden
Latest News Stories
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden

Many Pakistanis consider bin Laden a “hero of Islam.”

Two major obstacles have kept Israel from joining the program: Allegations by U.S. officials that Israel has discriminated against Arab- and Muslim-Americans seeking entry, and a proliferation of young Israelis traveling to the United States as tourists and then working illegally.

A Lebanese man who was arrested in Thailand on suspicion of belonging to Hezbollah admitted to targeting Israelis, Thai media reported.

On Friday afternoon, Syrian fighter jets hit opposition/rebel targets and villages on the Syrian side of the Ramat HaGolan (Golan Heights), in the Quneitra region. Large pillars of smoke are seen rising from struck areas. Quneitra is the site of an official crossing between Syria and Israel on the Golan. IAF jets were sent out […]

As Rabbi Stav said, “You’re free to think what you want. But do you want me to recognize Chelsea Clinton’s child as a Jew?”

Chimpanzees and Orangutans eat Matza, unleavened bread traditionally eaten during the Passover holiday, at the Ramat Gan Safari on Thursday, April 17, 2014. I hope they can digest it. On Passover no leavened bread (Chametz) is allowed in Jewish possession, and that includes food we feed our animals.

Following intelligence reports of further expected Arab rioting and violence on the Temple Mount today, the police have placed restrictions on Muslim entry to the Jewish holy site, according to a report on Arutz-7. Entry will be limited to Muslims over the age of 50, and women, also they must be Israeli citizens or residency […]

PA President Abbas’s refusal to publicly condemn the terror attack that killed Baruch Mizrachi is putting a damper on the parade.

The Shas political party, founded and run by the late Rav Ovadia Yosef, has a appointed a new spiritual leader, according to a Galei Tzahal report. The rabbi chosen to replace Harav Ovadia and be the new president of the party’s Council of Torah Sages is Rabbi Shalom Cohen. Aryeh Deri is the political leader […]

In 1941, the Jews of Kiev received a similar leaflet. When they showed up the next day, more than 34,000 were murdered.

Teen stabbed in South Florida high school.

The Kotel Plaza, the stairs, the Kotel entrance, the roads, everything was packed for Birkat Cohanim – the Priestly Blessing of the People – now imagine if this had been held on top of Har HaBayit, the Temple Mount!

Four Israeli citizens were hurt Thursday in a road terror attack near Tekoa in Gush Etzion.

Israel Police closed access to the Temple Mount to Jews and other non-Muslims on Thursday due to Arab violence.

Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine this week were ordered to “register” themselves and their assets.

U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk is on his way back to the region to revive talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

More Articles from Yori Yanover
rain ATM

A Jerusalem woman is trying to hold on to her umbrella while withdrawing some cash at a Meah Shearim ATM, Sunday, March 9, 2014. The rain appeared out of the blue (which is how rain should), after a warm week that started to feel like summer. Well, it don’t feel like summer no more. Last […]

Rabbi Meir Mazuz (seen visiting a synagogue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn) declared in a public Internet psak that it is legal for a Jew to go up to temple Mount.

Needless to say, Shas, the Haredi Sefardi party, is not happy.

“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”

Here’s the Israeli Navy boat INS Hanit arriving in Eilat on Saturday, March 8, 2014, after capturing the Klos C, which was carrying dozens of advanced Iranian-supplied weapons made in Syria and intended for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip. Here’s Israeli Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ram Rotberg speaking with the INS Hanit soldiers in […]

Pat Condell has a new video out, so, sit back, have fun. By the way, Message to Offended Muslims should not be confused with Message to Off Handed Muslims. Also, I’d love to hear what he has to say about Haredim.

The description that came with this picture says: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with American actor Bette Midler during an event at the house of Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan in Hollywood on March 6, 2014. But Bette Midler is not really an actor, she’s a singer who made movies for the LGBT community and […]

We will shut them up in the campuses, we will shut them up in the high schools, we will shut them up at the 92nd St. Y.

An Israeli female soldier (because they’re better at removing babies from their homes) evacuates a baby from a settlement in Judea and Samaria some time in the recent past. I’m thinking, if the baby was angry enough, couldn’t he evacuate in return, right there in her arms? Imagine the same picture, except with a settler […]

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/dubbing-political-foe-fascist-may-prove-costly-to-facebook-defendants/2012/02/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: